One the games industry's main champions in the Australian government has resigned his post, following an apparent "mix up" regarding dual nationality.
Scott Ludlam was both Senator for Western Australia and co-Deputy Leader of the Australian Green Party. According to the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, he was also, "undoubtedly the biggest advocate for the video games development industry in Australia."
However, Ludlam didn't officially renounce his New Zealand citizenship, despite moving from the country to Australia at the age of three. Australian Senators are not permitted to hold dual citizenship under the terms of the Constitution, leaving Ludlam with no choice but to resign.
"I was naturalised when I was in my mid-teens and assumed that was the end of my New Zealand citizenship," Ludlam said in a statement posted to Twitter. "I have no wish to draw out the uncertainty or to create a lengthy legal dispute, particularly when the Constitution is so clear."
hey everyone. i'm sorry about this, but it's a thing. i'll really miss it, but there are other ways to make trouble. love and thanks. pic.twitter.com/1QsEgRIEnW— Scott Ludlam 🌈 (@Scottludlam) July 14, 2017
In its own statement on the matter, the IGEA called it a, "devastating for the Australian video games industry," sending "shockwaves" throughout the country's developer community.
"At every opportunity possible, he always strived to support the industry," the IGEA said. "From pushing a Senate inquiry into video game development, to keeping the Government accountable for its late response to the report, to liaising and speaking with stakeholders on a frequent basis, he wanted nothing more to see the industry prosper in Australia.
"With Ludlam gone, it feels like it is going to make things more difficult for the games industry - whether it's trying to get some form of Federal Government support for games development, such as funding or tax breaks, or even just getting the Government to recognise games as a legitimate industry. Not to mention the fact that games are a form of entertainment that the majority of Australians enjoy daily."
From an international perspective, Australia was known for its hardline stance on violent games, resulting in a slew of popular games being denied classification. An R18+ certificate was introduced in 2011 to help ease the problem, but games like Saints Row 4 and State of Decay have still been refused a certificate, while South Park: The Stick of Truth was subject to cuts.
A censorship problem involving Outlast 2 prompted another Australian Senator, David Leyonhjelm, to call for the Australian government to "leave gamers alone" - proof that, at the very least, Ludlam didn't stand alone in his support of the games industry.
As for Ludlam, he's received one job offer already.